Date Added: Sep 2009
The authors develop a model of cities each inhabited by two agents, one specializing in manufacturing, the other in retail distribution. The distribution sector represents the physical transformation of all internationally traded goods from the factory gate to the final consumer. Using a panel of micro-prices at the city level, they decompose the cross-sectional variance of long-run LOP deviations into the fraction due to distribution costs, trade costs and a residual. For the median good, trade costs account for 50 percent of the variance, distribution costs account for 10 percent with 40 percent of the variance unexplained.